Situational awareness: Fire survival guidance – trapped or involved in transport fire

Control Measure Knowledge

This control measure should be read in conjunction with:

There are several factors which may affect the advice given by fire control personnel to callers that are trapped or involved in transport fire. These include:

  • The type of transport involved in the fire, for example:
    • Road vehicle, for example car, bus, lorry, van
    • Aircraft, for example military, light, commercial, private
    • Rail system, for example passenger train, freight train, tram, underground
    • Vessel, for example private, commercial, fishing, entertainment
  • The location of the transport, for example:
    • In a tunnel
    • In a port
    • At a railway station
    • Underground
  • Cargo being carried by the transport for example hazardous materials
  • Age of the transport and what safety measures are installed
  • Size of the transport
  • The severity of the fire and the proportion of the mode of transport that is affected
  • Number of passengers on board
  • Whether the transport has trained crew on board
  • Whether there is any pre-determined safety and evacuation guidance
  • Any specific advice or instruction given by other operating companies control rooms

Some of the factors listed above may not be known if a call is received from a passenger and may only be identified by a control room of the transport company.

For incidents on a mode of transport that has its own control room, contact should be made at the earliest opportunity to obtain any specific instructions, advice and guidance that we should share with passengers that are trapped and operational personnel. This advice and guidance will be specific to the known variables of the incident, the type of transport involved and the tactical plan that has been determined by on board staff.

For incidents involving road vehicles, establishing the make and model of the vehicle will enable operational personnel to use available software to identify where safety systems such as airbags are located. This will enable operational personnel to isolate safety systems where required and reduce the risk of harm from an unexpected airbag actuation.

A change in situation may mean that people at risk are in imminent danger. In these circumstances people at risk may be required to evacuate from the mode of transport immediately if it is safer to do so than remaining on the mode of transport. This may lead people at risk into other hazards or risks, for example:

  • Traction current/live tracks
  • Other rail systems passing on the opposite track
  • Open water
  • Motorway or other road network

People at risk should be made aware of other potential hazards if they are required to immediately evacuate.

Any change in advice to the caller or fire situation should be communicated to operational personnel and operating companies control rooms immediately.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions